Rogue Oxford St nightclub DCM has thwarted a court order to shut at midnight by moving into a venue with longer trading hours closer to Taylor Square.
DCM reopened on Friday night at Havana, next to the Stonewall Hotel, a move that has managers of the gay venue concerned for patron safety.
There were large numbers of police in the area on Friday and Saturday night, which is a good thing, but we’re still concerned, a spokeswoman from Stonewall said.
But the City of Sydney was still pleased with the Land and Environment Court ruling, because it placed all venues on notice for breaches of the City’s new Late Night Trading Premises controls.
DCM’s operators will still have to comply with the controls at the new location at 196 Oxford St, which has a permanent 3am licence.
The court judgment is vindication of the City’s commitment to balancing the needs of residents and the night-time economy of our city, acting City CEO Garry Harding said.
It reaffirms that late trading hours are a privilege for those premises that have shown ongoing good management practices and not a right.
During the two-year Land and Environment Court battle to end DCM’s trial 24-hour trading licence, police accused the operator of ignoring drug and alcohol abuse, allowing excessive crowding on Oxford St with poor security, and failing to cooperate with the local Liquor Accord.
Ongoing police reports showed the operators had not cleaned up their act, Sergeant Peter Mort told the court earlier this year, and represented major public safety issues. He added that two empty beer bottles were thrown at him during his last search of the premises.
Until the management of this hotel show an ongoing level of compliance over a reasonable period of time then I would respectfully submit that the development consent trading hours are reviewed and strong consideration be made for the trading hours to be reverted to standard trading hours for hotels, Mort wrote in his submission.
Last week commissioner Jan Murrell, who heard the case against DCM, agreed that the venue showed little commitment to working with the local community and potentially endangering lives cannot be tolerated.
But DCM has been advising its patrons that nothing will change at the new venue.
Please do not stress everyone, operations will continue exactly as per usual, same security guards, same bar staff, even same door girl, DCM posted on its website last week.
A spokeswoman for Xclusive Productionz, which operates DCM’s Friday night events, told Sydney Star Observer the move was to allow acoustic renovations at the original venue.
Its website recently advertised approaching 100,000 patrons to celebrate the second anniversary of the Chocolate City event on Fridays. However, the venue’s last valid entertainment licence would only have allowed a total of 34,320 patrons during those nights over two years.